‘Highly innovative’ sewage technology could power Eastbourne’s Sovereign Centre

Sovereign Centre in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190209-141735008
Sovereign Centre in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190209-141735008

Feasibility work for a low-carbon scheme to heat the Sovereign Leisure Centre by extracting energy from the local sewer system will go ahead.

The proposal is for a standalone energy centre on the seafront site to meet the centre’s heat requirements and help achieve Eastbourne council’s vision to deliver a carbon neutral town by 2030.

The council’s lead member for the environment Jonathan Dow said, “This highly innovative scheme provides the opportunity to take a significant step towards reducing the town’s carbon footprint, which is a key facet of council projects and services.

“The energy centre would be built to cope with extra demand in the future and could be developed to provide heat for other types of development, giving the scheme flexibility and the potential for significantly reduced running costs.”

The system would comprise two heat pumps which together will be able to meet the varying demands of the leisure centre.

The proposal would be to obtain heat by taking the liquid sewage from the nearby underground main sewer and passing it over a heat exchanger which extracts this heat and transfers it to where it is needed.

Feasibility and design work will now be carried out and if viable, a report will be made to the council’s decision making cabinet committee in February 2020.

Councillor Dow said, “The feasibility work is now underway and being delivered through our Clear Sustainable Futures framework. I look forward to receiving a report at cabinet where we will make a decision on next steps.”

CSF is a procurement and delivery framework between Eastbourne council, Lewes council, AECOM and Robertson.

Jonny Burke, the innovation consultant for Bluewave at Southern Water, said, “We’re absolutely delighted to be part of this hugely innovative scheme to help create a carbon neutral town by 2030.

“We’ve been working closely with the council and SHARC - the technology company behind transferring heat from sewers - over the last two years and it ties in with our own ambitions to create resource hubs, re-using energy for a more environmentally smart and friendly future.”